iPhone 4S

If you’ve always wanted to purchase an iPhone but never felt like signing up for a two-year contract, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has finally granted your wish. Last week, it was announced that Cricket, a popular contract-free phone carrier, would add the ever popular iPhone 4s to their roster of smartphones. And now it looks like another prepaid carrier (Virgin Mobile) will follow their lead.

Virgin Mobile’s contract-free plans for the iPhone start at $30 for 300 minutes; $40 for $1,200 minutes; and and $50 for unlimited minutes. All their plans include 2.5 GB of data and unlimited messaging. If you’re willing to pay an additional $15, you can also turn your phone into a wireless hotspot. The only caveat about the popular smartphone being offered with such low-priced contract-free plans: the cost of the phone itself is still significantly high.

The Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) subsidiary will offer the 8GB iPhone 4 for $549 and the 16GB iPhone 4s for $649. The iPhone will will available through Virgin Mobile on June 29.

If you’re looking for a better deal on a prepaid iPhone, your best bet is to go with Cricket where the iPhone 4 starts at $399.99 and the iPhone 4s starts at $499.99.

The reason most prepaid phones don’t feature subsidies is because the customer can leave anytime for whatever reason because they’re not binded to a contract. Since the phones are expensive and you’re not obligated to stay with the same carrier for two years, you are essentially purchasing the phone at full price.

I think it’s about time that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has entered the prepaid market, especially considering that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android has been on the prepaid market for quite some time now. It wasn’t all that long ago that AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) dominated the iPhone market completely but that all has changed. Now the tech savvy market has an array of real choices. With all that said, I doubt most people who are already on a contract will ditch their service for a contract-free plan but I do think it will increase the number of iPhones sold and that’s a good thing for the Apple.